Tuesday, May 23, 2006


We're all fascinated by the American obesity endemic. Admit it. It's reassuring that no matter where you fall on the fatass scale there's always someone with a fatter ass than you. And frequently you get to watch that disembodied ass waltz slowly away from the camera on national TV (no face shown, in case it's you they filmed; gotta avoid those lawsuits). Oooh boy do they need to go on a diet!

And when we get tired of shaking our heads (too much like exercise) at the fat folks, we can gasp at the food that might be the culprit. I'm not talking McDonald's. McDonald's is for amateurs. Behold, the "hamdog," a half-pound of hamburger meat wrapped around a hotdog, which is deep-fried and served on a hoagie topped with chili, bacon and a fried egg:

No wonder the "stunning new research" doesn't seem so stunning:

Americans had higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, strokes, lung disease and cancer -- findings that held true no matter what income or education level.

Those dismal results are despite the fact that U.S. health care spending is double what England spends on each of its citizens.

Maybe we really ought to forgo that whopper. But wait! Turns out even fat Brits are healthier than fat Americans. So, what's the reason for the difference?
  • The New York Times thinks it's our eagerness to label and diagnose people.
  • Slate says it's stress.
  • Winterspeak speculates that it's because we're not dead yet:
... [maybe] Americans were less healthy than the British because they were less dead. Advances in medical care have basically moved people from being dead to being alive but unwell, which is why all arguments that better health reduces medical costs are bogus (they may delay some medical costs, but we all need to go sometime and we usually do it kicking, screaming, and running up expensive medical bills). ...
The Warrior Monk thinks the root cause is that we don't drink enough Guinness over here. I believe he's conducting a Phase I study of the subject.


I don't get Guinness. Not enough of the active ingredient.

By Blogger John, at 2:05 PM  

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